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Itís the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but itís also the time of year that your pocket book can really take a hit buying gifts for everyone. So Iím sharing a few of my familyís favorite holiday traditions that wonít cut into your familyís budget too much this holiday season.
Bake holiday cookiesGather up your favorite recipes and spend a day baking your favorite holiday cookies with your kids. If youíve been following sales and using your coupons youíll probably have most items already in your pantry. Since youíll probably have more than enough cookies, share some with your neighbors and friends.
Build and decorate a gingerbread houseYou can pick up these kits just about anywhere and they are pretty reasonably priced, too. I picked mine up at Aldi this weekend for $5.99. My gingerbread houses never really turn out how theyíre supposed to, but my kids donít seem to care!
Go visit SantaSome stores like Wal-Mart and Walgreens have days where you can take your kids to get their picture with Santa for free!
Watch a holiday movie (or two!)Pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate, camp out in front of the TV, and watch your favorite holiday movies with your kids. Home Alone has been a big hit at our house this year already. We are also big fans of Redbox at our house, and their kiosks have several Christmas movies right now, too. For $1 per night, you really canít go wrong there.
Elf on the ShelfWe started this tradition a few years ago when my boys started to really get into Santa. Although, the initial investment in the ďElfĒ was about thirty dollars, it has been well worth it. They named our Elf ďJobiĒ (I still am not sure why). This year they were asking how soon Jobi was going to show up, and one day he just happened to be hanging out on our Christmas tree.
Read to your kidsRead a holiday book each night before bed to your kids. We save the Polar Express for Christmas Eve at our house.
See the Holiday LightsWeíve done this on Christmas Eve since I was a kid. After Christmas Eve service at church, we turn on the holiday music in the car and drive around our town and check out everyoneís Christmas lights.
Holiday Stock up ListIn between all your holiday shopping, holiday parties, and trying to start new family traditions, donít forget to stock up on these items for all your holiday entertaining while theyíre at their lowest prices: party platter foods, sour cream, dips, cold cuts, chips, crackers, stuffing, ham, potato mixes, canned vegetables, butter, pie filling, pie crusts, canned soups, sparkling wines, and champagne.